UT’s automatic admission threshold will remain at 6% for the 2021-22 application cycle, according to a letter sent by President Gregory Fenves to the Texas
Senate Bill 175 requires the University to offer automatic admission to 75% of the University’s enrollment capacity for in-state, first-time undergraduates. The University determined that automatically admitting Texas high schoolers in the top 6% of their 2021 graduating class will meet this requirement, according to a Sept. 11 letter delivered to Mike Morath, the Texas Education Agency commissioner, which the University provided to the Daily Texan.
Joey Williams, director of communications for the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost, said the University still considers students who do not meet the automatic admission criteria in the remaining pool of applicants.
“We set the automatic criteria in adherence with state law and the need to ensure we are able to effectively support the success of our incoming students,” Williams said. “Future review and automatic criteria setting will continue to ensure we meet the dual enrollment goals of access for students from across Texas and our ability to effectively support student success.”
The growing number of students attending Texas high schools and applying to UT contributed to the threshold decision, according to the letter. 50,576 first-time freshmen applied and 19,482 were admitted last year. The University’s threshold percentage has followed a downward trend since SB 175 took effect in 2011, but the threshold has remained at 6% for three application cycles, according to the letter. According to the Texas Admissions website, 48.5% of 2018-2019 in-state applicants were admitted, 19.5% of which were nonautomatic admissions.
“As we work to enhance our Texas student enrollment efforts, we are seeing increasing recruitment competition for our students from out-of-state colleges and universities due to declining high school populations elsewhere in the country,” Williams said.
Nutrition science freshman Brinda Kharel said she did not receive automatic admission because of her small graduating class.
“I went to a pretty tough school, academically challenging, where they make you take all pre-AP and AP courses,” Kharel said. “My (graduating) class was very small, with less than 110 people, so it was sort of hard to be in the top 6% because there were only six people who were the top six (percent).”
Kharel said this made automatic acceptance less important at her school. When she arrived at orientation, however, she said her perception of it changed.
“I didn’t realize so many people were in the top 6%, but here it feels like everyone was,” Kharel said. “I would say I wasn’t in top 6% and people made faces. It’s a new environment I’m trying to adjust to. To not be part of that, it feels like you’re out of the culture.”
Nazlee Khadjeheian, a psychology and bilingual education junior, said she was automatically admitted to the University. She said reviewing some students holistically while automatically admitting others feels unfair.
“Automatic admission can be a beneficial thing,” Khadjeheian said. “UT says it has holistic admissions, but how holistic can it be when it’s required to take in all students that automatically qualify? It’s a little unfair.”
Editor's Note: This story was updated to include comments from students and UT communications.